Many people are gladly embracing intermittent fasting, due to two reasons: first, it is less gruesome than traditional fasting and dieting; and secondly, it is healthier and does not require much in terms of lifestyle changes - just some minor adjustments in your meal times. Intermittent fasting is not a new weight loss tactic as most people believe. It is an ancient practice that was not used for dieting as it used today, but rather for religious reasons and to some extent survival since there was food scarcity. It is only recently that the concept was introduced into weight loss and fitness programs and the name Intermittent Fasting attached to it. In fact, there is a high chance that you may have done it at least once in your life without knowing it.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting can be looked at as a restrictive eating pattern, which involves dividing the day into hours of eating and fasting. Normally, you would eat at least three meals a day, say after 6 to 8 hours with snacks in-between. However, with intermittent fasting you strictly adhere to a cycle between eating and fasting. For instance, you may set a 16 hour fasting period and an 8 hour eating timeframe.
This means that once the 8-hour timeframe is over, you are not to take anything until the 16-hour fasting period elapses. This does not mean that you are to over-indulge in eating to compensate for the fasting period. You will still check your food intake by consuming healthy meals. Intermittent fasting differs from traditional dieting, since you maintain your normal diet but restrict its quantity and the time you eat it.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are many types of intermittent fasting regimens that you can take advantage of. The most important thing is to pick the one that works well for you and does not affect your work or how you live. The good thing about intermittent fasting is that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to make it part of your daily living. How little or often you do the fast will depend entirely on you. Some people adhere to strict daily regimens, while others prefer fasting once or twice a week. Here are the common types of intermittent fasting:
Also referred to as the Leangains protocol, this method involves fasting for 16 hours and then eating within an 8 hour timeframe. It is probably the easiest and most popular method. You can easily do it by skipping breakfast and eating two or three meals within the eating window.
This method involves five days of normal eating and two days of fasting. This fast however restricts your dietary intake to around 500-600 calories a day during fasting.
This method involves doing a full fast for 24 hours, either once or twice a week. If your last meal is dinner at 8pm, then this fast will require you to forego all meals until 8pm the following day. Consumption of beverages like water and non-caloric drinks are allowed, but not solid foods.
This is an intense method that restricts you to a single 500 calories meal or a full fast with no meals during fasting days. However, normal eating is resumed on non-fasting days.
OMAD is an acronym for ‘one meal a day’. As its name suggests, you only have one meal which is to be consumed in an hour. The rest of the 23 hours are reserved for fasting.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
A common misconception about intermittent fasting is that it is a “starvation diet” and therefore unhealthy. The reality however is that intermittent fasting does not dictate what you eat, just at what time you are to take the food. You can maintain the same dietary choices you want, but just be wary of the time you take them. It would be better however if you stuck to healthier meals. In any case, intermittent fasting is still healthier than over-stuffing yourself to obesity. Here are the benefits of intermittent fasting:
Intermittent fasting facilitates weight loss in two ways. First, it reduces the amount of food you consume and also speeds up the metabolic process. Secondly, abstaining from food inhibits the production of insulin, which is used to break down food into energy and to facilitate storage of excess glucose as fat tissue. Without insulin, the body responds by breaking down fat deposits to produce usable energy.
Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels that come as a result of insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting helps to lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by reducing insulin and hastening metabolism, which speeds up the breakdown of excess sugars. It also protects against kidney damage, which is one of the severe cases of diabetes.
Reduces Aging Process
Two factors that speed up aging are inflammation and oxidative stress. Inflammation is a defense mechanism by the body’s immune system when it detects toxic or foreign compounds. Chronic inflammation is a serious case and may contribute to tissue damage and chronic illnesses like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Oxidative stress involves free radicals damaging important body molecules like DNA and proteins. Intermittent fasting increases the body’s resistance to inflammation and oxidative stress and in the process, reduces the aging process.
Improves Heart Health
There are various risk factors that are associated with heart disease, such as blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, cholesterol, inflammatory markers and blood triglycerides. These health markers can be attributed to our dietary choices and hormonal imbalance in our bodies. Inflammatory fasting helps to reduce these risk factors leading to a healthier heart.
Improves Brain Function
Intermittent fasting has also been linked to brain health. It reduces metabolic processes that are known to decrease proper functioning of the brain, such as high blood sugar, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. It also facilitates growth of neurons and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) – an important brain hormone that prevents against various brain-related diseases like stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Hastens Muscle Growth
Generally, people who fast frequently experience some form of body strength. This can be attributed to muscle growth and decrease in body fat. When you fast, your body initiates autophagy – or a cellular waste removal process. This helps in faster cellular repair and replication and as a result, you feel more energized. Also, it facilitates production of Human Growth Hormone, which accelerates fat break-down and muscle gains. When accompanied by gym workouts and yoga meditations, intermittent fasting can do wonders to your body and soul. In case if you are looking for gym equipments dubai, please click the link.
Intermittent Fasting is one of the healthiest ways of losing body fat and staying fit. It helps rejuvenate the body by improving cellular function, hormonal balance and the immune system. As a result, we become stronger, healthier and more resistant to illnesses.